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Lt. Mark J. Petruniak, who assisted scores of Cheektowaga residents and neighborhood groups in preventing crime, retired last week.

Thursday marked the end of a 29-year police career for Petruniak, who had headed the town’s Crime Resistance Unit since 2005, when he attained the rank of lieutenant.

That unit, founded in 1991, helps block clubs and other groups, as well as individual residents, with advice on how to prevent crime.

In his eight years as the Police Department’s community affairs lieutenant, Petruniak worked closely with numerous taxpayers, faith-based and school groups.

One of those activities was the annual National Night Out, which he had been involved with almost since it started. He also enjoyed giving children tours of the police station.

He received an achievement award for his community work in 2010 from then-Police Chief Christine M. Ziemba.

Petruniak, 57, came to the role after years as a patrolman.

After joining the force in January 1984, Petruniak became the leader in the number of arrests on the afternoon shift. He also worked as an accident investigator and a field-training officer.

He received eight letters of commendation for his patrol work, including one for subduing a man, armed with a loaded handgun, who was trying to shoot his wife.

In December 1985, he was cited for his arrest of a suspect in an armed robbery of the KMart store on Walden Avenue.

In October 1993, Petruniak was promoted to sergeant and worked at the desk for six years until he went back on the road as a patrol sergeant in November 1999.

He also was active in union affairs, serving for the past two years as treasurer of the Captains and Lieutenants Association.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com